Six months deep into a global pandemic efforts to feed people in need in Orange County are still running strong.

Food banks and pantries, houses of worship and even some restaurants have been working nonstop to help feed Orange County after many people lost their jobs to stay at home orders back in March.

The Rustic Que, a local catering business, will be firing up the grill on Sept. 13 to feed over 250 people in the community for free in an effort to give back to essential workers, people affected by the pandemic and to lift spirits. It’s a two box limit per car and boxes will include pulled pork, chopped brisket, bread rolls and garnishes. 

“We heard so many people losing their jobs, so many people on unemployment, so many people are just struggling,” said Jeffery Flores, who runs the catering business with his wife Nancy and mans the grill. “Then you have all these essential workers that have no choice but to work, to work the grocery stores, to still provide for us. We kind of wanted to pay it forward to them and to help those who are not in the best situation.”

The couple will be hosting the drive through boxed meal give away from 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. or until the food is gone at Stereo Brewing in Placentia. 

Nancy and Jeffrey both have full time jobs and started their catering business on the side in 2018 after receiving many compliments on their barbeque skills. When the pandemic hit and the stay at home order came about they put the catering on pause waiting for things to clear.

Now they’re firing up the grill again.

“We’ve been fortunate to keep our jobs and be able to work from home. I feel like it was something we kind of had to do,” Nancy said. “To sort of lift everybody up.”

The Rustic Que is partnering up with Gateaux Shoppe – a pastry store in Anaheim Hills – who will be handing out cake.

“We told them that we want to help contribute and help the community,” Gateaux Shoppe Owner and Pastry Chef Sally Mach. “Especially during these times, everyone needs a little pick me up and I figured you can’t have free barbeque without Dessert.”

Mach and her twin sister were winners on a Food Network show called “Winner Cake All” in 2019. They used the winnings from the show to help open up their store.

The Woodshed, a firewood supplier in Orange, has also helped by donating wood.

Jeffrey hopes they can make this an annual tradition. Nancy said they have also thought of holding another free meal distribution sooner depending on how long the pandemic plays out.

“The thing that brings everyone together is food,” Jeffery said. “Everybody has to eat. People can sit down and have a meal together and I think it’s like a universal language. You don’t need to speak the same language to love food.”

For anybody in need of food, pantries across Orange County are handing it out for free.

These include:

Power of One Foundation

Saturday Sept. 12 from 8 a.m. – 10 a.m. at MainPlace Mall in Santa Ana

United Across Borders Foundation

Saturday Sept. 12 from 10 a.m. – 1 p.m. at the Ambassador Church in Anaheim. 

701 S Sunkist St, Anaheim, CA 92806

Uplift Charity

Saturday Sept. 12 from 9 a.m. to 12: 30 p.m. at Al-Ansar Mosque 

1717 S Brookhurst St, Anaheim, CA 92804

Sikh Center of Orange County Food Pantry

Saturday Sept. 12 and Sept. 19 from 8:30 to 11 a.m. at the Gurudwara

2530 Warner Ave., Santa Ana, CA 92704

Laguna Food Pantry 

Every Monday-Friday 8 a.m.-10:30 a.m.

20652 Laguna Canyon Road, Laguna Beach, CA 92651

For more food assistance options visit 211 OC.

If you operate a drive through food pantry in Orange County and would like our newsroom to be aware of your efforts, reach out to Hosam Elattar at or on Twitter @ElattarHosam.

Hosam Elattar is a Voice of OC Reporting Fellow. Contact him or on Twitter @ElattarHosam.

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